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Social Media Sites – More Than Popularity Contests?

Social media - popularity contests?Social media channels have become a part of daily life for many. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Plus users are posting on these sites for various reasons. Are some reasons more legitimate than others?

Reasons for Social Media Engagement

1. Business Networking

Many have a Facebook or Google Plus page to promote their businesses. Obviously, their motives to increase profits are justifiable. However, the nature of their posts may not be in line with their goals. Especially when they’re ineffective because they lack SEO optimization, or other characteristics that get the attention of their target audience.

2. Social Networking

Staying in touch with distant friends is a popular and valid reason for using social media channels. Expanding the number of connections you have to others isn’t a problem, depending on the motives involved. As long as stalkiness isn’t involved, and you still interact socially with others in real life, it’s generally a good thing. Of course there are some gray areas. For example, flirting online can be harmless or not, depending on your relationship status.

3. Loneliness and Boredom

These can be problem reasons for engaging in social media platforms. Some people get too sucked into these sites, at the cost of developing a real life and real friendships. Like most forms of escapism, it needs to be used in a limited and balanced way. Those using social sites for these reasons tend to run into more problems. Especially if their posts often take on a negative tone, and they display whining, complaining, and similar traits that reflect the person’s unhappy state of mind. If you’re out to win a popularity contest, people tend to be more attracted to others that are happy and uplifting to be around. Those who are downers may find themselves rather isolated, or surrounded by others who are equally miserable.

There are also those who just seem needy for attention. For some reason, they seem to think we need to be constantly updated on their daily activities. Frankly, most people don’t care what you just ate or where you just went. If you just took a vacation to an interesting locale, sure I’d like to see some scenic pictures, even if I’m pea green with envy. On the other hand, your trip to the local gym or pub….not that interesting to me, sorry. There needs to be a distinction between a profile page and a diary. Social media sites aren’t meant to be used for journaling, and diaries come with locks for privacy reasons.

4. Altruism

Some are trying to promote a worthy cause, such as drawing attention to the plight of abused animals. Of course, one can’t find fault with such motives. However, one needs to be careful to discern whether their motives are pure or if there’s some type of hidden agenda at work. Sorry, but I’m cynical based on past experiences.

Have I left something out-are there other motives at play I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear your thoughts and why you’re engaging with social media sites.

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